Nick had done his best to steer clear of Silurian. He had tried. Sure enough, within the day after Valen’s funeral they wrangled him into his usual chores, which involved helping the widow. Silurian wasn’t known for her amazing moods. She had a tendency to switch gears faster than you could imagine. One moment everything was calm, then the next someone was on the ground in a pool of blood. These days that was usually just an animated corpse or some other monstrosity, but he could only imagine what she had been capable of before he met her twenty years ago. There were quite a few rumors of wild stories within New Haven.
“I want to go out and do a perimeter of the walls today, Nick.” Silurian spoke to the man that seemed to be suddenly daydreaming. The light of the sky was barely peeking above the horizon as she pressed the man for some form of recognition. This work wasn’t unusual, but it was something she had done with Valen usually. She had even thought of going out alone, but she knew that she would have to sneak out before anyone would willingly allow her out of the gates without some form of backup. It was rightly so. The world around them was dangerous, and if she wanted to get back home without an issue, then she needed someone to help watch her back.
The man finally came out of his thoughts to speak up. “A perimeter check? Now?” Nick sighed while he folded his arms over his chest. He wasn’t a largely built man, even not as built as Azrael was, but he made up for it in the flexibility department. He kept himself toned for things like this, even though he hated doing them. Going outside the walls was never a picnic. It was always something. If you were lucky, someone just sprained an ankle, but ever since the monsters started appearing more frequently, the worse trips outside the walls got. What he would do for a simple set of undead people. “Should we bring Kevin?” Nick asked genuinely. He didn’t mind going off with her alone, but depending on how she felt, he may need the backup. He had seen the look in her eyes when she was wound up from a good brawl. It was dangerous when Silurian was over stimulated.
“No…leave the fool here….no offense.” Silurian apologized for her comment half heartedly. Everyone knew Kevin was an immature man, no matter what they have all been through in the past twenty years. It had to have been a coping mechanism but there were days, like today, that she could not deal with his antics.
Nick laughed. “Hey, he might be my best pal but, he’s a moron. Heart of gold and survived this long but still a moron.” He would do anything for Kevin, but he had to admit that loving that man even as a brother wasn’t easy all the time. “When do you want to leave?”
“Now.” Silurian was blunt and already walking away from Nick to head for the stables. While some bio fuel had been successful, it had just been easier to keep to the simpler things like horses for travel. They were quieter, but they could draw attention as a meal for something bigger. It could be a double-edge sword, but it was better than staying where she had to see everything that reminded her of…everything.
“But!” Nick tried to interrupt her movement as she quickly left him. He watched the woman walk away and roll her long black hair up into a bun as she went, with a frown on his face. He knew better than to argue with her. Mourning or not, Silurian got what she wanted. His hand reached for the shortwave radio he had so he could speak to the man at the main gate. “Sil wants to go for a perimeter check. Get the gate ready and watch our back while you can.” Nick had to hurry to get his own things together. A backpack of a few supplies would have to do to gear the horse up with. He also got a few extra weapons, just in case.
“Hey there, big guy.” Silurian spoke softly to the large dark horse that nibbled at his bucket of feed. “Ready to get out of here for a bit? Find some trouble.” The horse gave a snort-like noise of his nose in response to the woman. “Yea yea…we’re all too old for trouble.” She smiled as she gathered the saddle and supplies to set upon the beast’s back.
“What the hell, mom?!” Ethan was in the barn next, moving to the doorway of his mother’s horse’s stall. “You can’t be serious? The entire perimeter?” He assumed and hoped maybe she just wanted to check one side, but if it was to check the whole outer area of their land that could take some time. At least a day…maybe more. Ethan also wasn’t so keen on her making such big decisions without discussing it first.
“It is something that has to be done, Ethan. You and Azrael can keep watch while I’m gone. I am taking Nick with me so don’t start with all the ‘it’s dangerous’ crap.” Silurian had removed the bandages that had been on her hands the night before, and while her hands were still bruised and cut, it was healing and wouldn’t bother her for much longer.
“I…guess I just expected you to stay closer to home.”
“I will just be on the other side of the fence.” She smirked to the man, knowing how she was pressing right up against the concept box.
“Yea because we don’t have miles of fields in between here and the wall on that side.” He scowled at his mother a little before giving a sigh. “I can’t stop you, just wish you wouldn’t be like….this.” He wasn’t really sure what he was doing, trying to convince her to stay. She would be back, but it nearly seemed like he was losing two parents now.
“Your…concern is comforting Ethan. But we…I haven’t had a loss like this in a very long time. Not since Molly.” Silurian sighed, her miss colored eyes staring at the ground for a few moments before she looked at her son again. His eyes were the same dark abyss of brown as his father’s. “I need to handle this. Otherwise, I will sit here and be tormented by your father’s memory until I die. I need to get this…rage out.” She admitted to herself that she had controlled it pretty well so far. The little sparring match with the bag wasn’t enough, but it could have ended worse for her and the others she cared for. It didn’t even scratch the surface of what she felt. Silurian couldn’t even name it. She knew it was grief, but this pain felt like her heart would just crack and break into shards. Shards that would puncture every piece of her until she died from the internal hemorrhage. She had felt similar anger and pain before, but this was overwhelming. What was she to do? Taking a ride and clearing her head seemed the most normal option.
“Rage out? What about your heart? What if…” His mother interrupted him by taking the reins of her horse and walking the animal out of the barn just as Nick came in to prepare his own horse.
“What ifs get pretty damned old after a while, Ethan.” She spoke and smiled at her son in the doorway before she walked with her steed in hand towards the gate. Silurian glimpsed her other son in her kitchen window along the way. She placed a kiss to her fingers and waved them towards his looming visage in a gesture of motherly affection. Azrael probably wasn’t happy with the news either, but out of the two boys he always seemed to understand her a bit more. That extra dose from Seth must have done more than change his eyes. She was confident that these boys could handle themselves while she was gone. One was stern and hard-headed, while the other had a compassion for people that he must have gotten from someone else. Definitely wasn’t from her, or Valen.
Ethan had watched his mother leave the barn which left him and Nick alone. “Don’t let her out of your sight…please.” He had no idea what his mother was up to, but he didn’t like it. He didn’t like it at all, and if it wasn’t for how seriously his family took to the needs of the community, he probably would follow them. With that simple request done, he left the barn, leaving Nick with no option for discussion.
Nick sighed while he finished tightening the straps of the saddle and reigns of his chestnut colored horse. She was a nimble beast and had served him well in a few close calls with hordes, so he couldn’t imagine taking any other horse with him. He made it quick, leaving the barn just in time to see the gate being opened for Silurian.
“Which way?” Nick asked the woman leading that way, though there weren’t many options. Left or right from the gate, pretty simple. Yet the man only saw Silurian ride on ahead, moving down the road. “But shouldn’t we follow the wall…for the perimeter check?” He gave his horse a gentle kick so he could catch up with the dark horse’s jaunty trot.
“You can do that after I’m done.” Silurian had purposefully waited until they were out of sight from the wall before she spoke to her companion.
Nick stared at her as they rode, taking in the silence of their voices apart from the noise of the horses. Unable to form words.
She wasn’t planning on coming back…was she?